If you want to know what an antique is worth, a free antique appraisal from an online company might be enough to satisfy your curiosity. These appraisals can be a great starting point for most people.
However, there are some specific drawbacks to consider before taking an online appraisal as the absolute truth. Read about some of the limitations with free appraisals and then scroll down for a list of some online appraisal resources.
For important and sentimental items, we recommend contacting multiple sources to verify an antique’s value and authenticity.
Drawbacks of Online Antique Appraisals
The value might not be accurate.
Free antique appraisals tend to be less accurate than ones that cost money. Experts spend more time researching items for insurance appraisals, and you’re more likely to find someone who has more knowledge in general. Many people who offer free antique estimates also buy antiques, which is a conflict of interest.
Free appraisals won’t work for insurance purposes.
If you have an antique you want to insure, you’ll need written certification from a reputable source. In these instances, you’ll need to pay the appraiser for their time. Contact your insurance company and find out what they require to have your antiques insured.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do I need a written appraisal for insurance purposes? If so, these free online appraisal options won’t be enough. You’ll need to pay for a written assessment from a qualified antique expert.
- Could this item be worth a lot of money? High-value antiques tend to have a broader price range. A replacement value could be significantly different from an at auction value. If the antique’s price is high, get more than one opinion and make sure they tell you what the value means. Does it mean you will be able to sell the item for that amount?
Free Online Antique Appraisers
Most auction houses or antique businesses will provide free antique appraisals, especially if you intend to sell your items. However, keep in mind that these appraisals are usually based on the dealer purchase price or auction value. These values do not represent a replacement value, which is what an insurance company needs to protect your stuff.
Some popular websites for free appraisals include:
This website provides free price guides and appraisals on certain antiques. They specialize in Meissen, Royal Vienna, Royal Worcester, and other decorative antiques. Look for the item in question on their database, and then email them for a free appraisal. Keep in mind that this website also buys antiques, which could be a conflict of interest. The assessment might be based on a wholesale value instead of an accurate market value.
If you think your antique is worth more than a couple thousand dollars, consider getting a high-end auction estimate through Christie’s online valuation form. Remember that an auction estimate is much different than replacement value. Also, the estimate is not a guarantee of the price. If you sell at auction, the item could sell for much higher or lower than the estimate.
This large antique gallery is located in Florida, and they will provide free appraisals on antique furniture, jewelry, Asian antiques, and entire estates. The appraisal service is free, but the information you get will be limited. This company is also buying antiques, so take the value with a grain of salt.
This online community helps users find the value of antiques for free. The forum allows people to post their antiques and ask specific questions regarding history, origin, and value. Remember that anyone can join and respond to inquiries, so the opinions might not be accurate or up to date. This free online appraisal option is ideal if you only want a price range on a low-value item. Higher value items will need additional expert input for the actual value.
You can get a free online appraisal from Mr. Expert if you have an item within their range of expertise. They will valuate fine art, furniture, and 26 other categories listed on their website. If the object is worthwhile, this company will also act as a middle man and get you in touch with the appropriate auction house or dealer to sell your item for top dollar.
Most antique appraisers start their search on a site like WorthPoint. This website is an online database with more than 540 million antique prices and thousands of expert articles. You can sign up for a free trial to gain access to this expert information. It might take you longer to research using this website, but you’ll end up with an in-depth understanding of your antique and what it’s worth.
If you need to figure out a general value of an antique or you want to sell a lower value antique, start with a free antique appraisal. If you need to insure an antique or want to sell something more expensive, consider getting a written, certified appraisal. Good luck!